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SWARM

SWARM
Students With A Responsible Message (SWARM), aims to change the facts surrounding rising unintended pregnancy and STI infection rates among South Carolina's youth by improving access to reproductive counseling and services through public policy improvement. Council members write posts that highlight activites on their campuses and the issues that matter to them. To learn more about SWARM, please email info@tellthemsc.org.
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Ashley LeConte

by Ashley L.

 

Bee Day was fun. It gave me time to catch up with my SWARM members and meet students from USC. It was also good meeting Brandon for the first time and catching up with the Tell Them staff.  We stayed at a hotel on USC\’s campus on Tuesday night. On Wednesday we ate breakfast and lunch at the Tell Them office while we went over key points to talk about while lobbying. We walked for about 15 minutes to The State House. We took a beautiful group picture …

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Nadia Anderson

by Nadia A.

 

I really enjoyed participating in Bee Day this year. I was upset that we were not able to actually meet with the senators though. I have met most of the representatives and was really excited about seeing the other side. The highlight of the day was going to Representative Jerry Govan’s office and hearing the opinion of his assist, Mickey. She was very supportive of what SWARM was doing and thinks that other young people should try to get involved with the issue of Comprehensive …

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Alexus Tullock

by Alexus T.

 

Bee Day in my opinion was a huge success!! Even though we didn’t get to talk to members of the House or the Senate we pulled it off. Meeting the USC Social Work Program students was fun. They all were unique and brought different ideas to the table. We all shared the common interest of wanting Comprehensive Sexual Health Education for our youth. It is crazy to spend $190 million on teen moms when the money could be put to use in many other ways to benefit South Carolina. …

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Jordan Craven

by Jordan C.

 

“First, let me say how much I enjoy being part of the SWARM council.

It gives me so much joy to be able to work with such amazing and passionate people. I attended “Bee Day” last year as a general advocate and felt the enthusiasm the TellThem staff had for their cause and I knew I had to be a part of it.

This year, my first time attending as a council member, I still felt the same amount of passion and drive that I …

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Jasmine Stewart 2

My high school sex education lacked talking about relationships and sexuality, but made sure to show visuals of warts, herpes, and gonorrhea. It was like a horror movie and it gave me nightmares as if I was a little kid that believed in the boogie man. The problem was I liked the boogie man, that we can rename sex, and I didn’t know how to necessarily prevent attracting stds as a lesbian female who didn’t partake in heterosexual intercourse. They told us to wrap it up, but I had …

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Brittany Prince

Sex Education in Manning, SC: some experience it while others do not. The first time I had a conversation about sex education from a school official was in junior high.  Only a selected group of girls would get pulled out from class to discuss the issue at hand. She discussed STI’s and used scare tactics to prevent us from having sex. I still have the visuals in my mind of what chlamydia looks like. Those pictures however were over exaggerated. All STI’s do not look that. In fact one …

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Ashley LeConte

Ashley, a student at SC State University and member of the SWARM Council, shares her story.

Ashley’s Sex Education Story

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Tell Them is proud to announce the release of a new report: 25 Years and 250,000 Teen Pregnancies Later.

This report examines the multitude of research surrounding the need for comprehensive sex education programs in South Carolina.

The report highlights 5 major problems with current sex education programs:

  • - No accountability for what is being taught in sex ed classes
  • - Lack of teachers trained in health education instruction
  • - Information provided to students is not medically accurate
  • - Discriminatory information being imposed on students
  • - No “checks and

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Melanie Waddell

by Melanie Waddell

 

My first introduction to what sex really is was a video that my mother showed me. She sat me down in front of the television, pressed play, and left the room. I watched this video in utter confusion. By the end of the video, which had a definite Christian skew, the only thing I had really learned was that God wanted people to wait until they were married to have sex. Whatever that was.

My mom showed me this video because she didn’t want me …

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Emily Rogers

by Emily Rogers

 

I had sex education in the public schools of Virginia, but it was (considerably) lacking. It was arbitrarily placed in 5th, 7th, and 10th grades and functioned to inform me that menstruation is not lethal, pregnancy can happen, and STIs are gross. Naturally, I had other questions.

Questions about my vagina, how sex worked, what an orgasm was, and why the school kept telling me it was something I needed to wait for. Who had all the answers? Who could …

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When I attended the One Voice Summit in Washington D. C. on November 16-19, 2012, I didn’t know how they were going to fill one hour, much less three days with information about how the environment and reproductive health were related.

After attending the conference, I learned how the world is acutely affected by our reproductive choices through population control, sustainability, and resource consumption and how we are affected by the environment we live in. The reproductive system is one of the most easily affected by its environment. In …

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Darian

Check out SWARM-er Darian James’s experience at the World AIDS Day march in Orangeburg, SC!

World AIDS Day

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Jordan

By Jordan Craven

I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with the dishonorable Todd Akin; you know, the one who thinks a woman’s body will prevent pregnancies in the event of a rape? Yeah, well he’s not the only one misinformed about sex.

Check out this article.

Read it and weep. This survey from the Bristol Youth Project has shown that many young men and women still do not understand what ‘consent’ really means.

Well? What is consent? Good question. First of all, consent is more than just saying …

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SWARM Council-35

This final edition of “Meet SWARM ’12-‘13” includes 4 wonder young women who know how to get things done.

Alexus Tullock

Alexus Tullock is a sophomore at Claflin University. She’s been on the Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce Youth Council and the Orangeburg County Youth Council. She’s full of life and brilliant ideas. She’s the headliner in the “Tell Them We Care About” video released late last spring, and she’s sure to headline many more. She’s passionate about sex education largely because Orangeburg has struggled with teen pregnancy and HIV. …

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SWARM Council-35

Melanie Waddell joined the SWARM Council after volunteering with Brittany Pack from last year’s council. Melanie attends Converse College and is quite the lovely lady. She appreciates theater, psychology, and politics. She brings with her experience as the Day Student Association VP, a Palmetto Players Business Manager, an Assistant Editor of The Conversationalist, a member of Model League, and as a Historian of the Psychology Association. She’s brilliant and sharp. She’s already making great impressions with her council members and planning great things for her campus.

Aaron Charleston is

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SWARM Council-35

Students With A Responsible Message (SWARM) are Baaaack! Nine of the SWARMsters from last year graduated and have fanned out across the country to pursue their careers. That means we have one returning council member and nine newbies. Now, many of the new council members have worked with us in the past, so don’t think they aren’t hitting the ground running, cause they’re already out o’ sight!

Brittany Prince

First up we have Brittany Prince of the University of South Carolina. Brittany is pursuing a Masters in Health Administration …

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Emma

By Emma Davidson

Washington DC is a magical place. I remember my first trip, many years ago, and the excitement of finally standing in buildings that I had read about and seen in movies. You hear about DC, read about DC, but it doesn’t always feel real until you’re standing there really looking at it.

Traveling to our nation’s Capitol with 10 smart, capable, eager people is an adventure in itself. The SWARM Council is comprised of 10 amazing college students, who used their time in DC is expand …

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Cherisse

By Cherisse Eatmon

Wow! So what an amazing couple of events that I’ve had the pleasure of attending. I recently attended the Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Columbia with hundreds of others including our SWARM Council. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has organized more than 250 walks nationwide to support suicide prevention research and local programs. It was touching and inspiring to see a group of strangers who were, if only for a moment, bonded. There didn’t need to be a physical connection we all knew …

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SWARM Council-35

Tell Them‘s youth council for policy change, SWARM (Students With A Responsible Message) heads to DC today to participate in the 12th annual Advocates for Youth Urban Retreat where they will receive comprehensive training on ways to improve sexual health education and programs in our state.

SWARM members attending the conference are Darian Ames (South Carolina State University), Nadia Anderson (Columbia College), Aaron Charleston (Benedict College), Jordan Craven (University of South Carolina), Ashley LeConte (South Carolina State University), Brittany Prince (University of South Carolina), Emily Rogers (College of Charleston), Jasmine Stewart (Winthrop University), Alexus Truluck (Claflin University), …

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Melanie

By Melanie Waddell

SWARM attended the Urban Retreat in Washington DC over the weekend. It was an amazing experience where I was able to meet tons of different people from all across the nation and the world who are just as invested in these issues as I am. To see these young people so involved and engaged in the activities really made me proud to say that I’m with this group. I’m with Advocates for Youth and CAMI. I’m part of a group that promotes comprehensive sex education and …

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Ashley

By Ashley LeCounte

This weekend at the Urban Retreat was SOOOO fun! I really didn’t expect to enjoy my self  this much. I gained so many skills this weekend and got to see a lot of great monuments. My SWARM Council is awesome, I could not have imagined a better group of people to travel with.

It was very humbling to meet with so many other people from around the world with different backgrounds. Everyone was very nice and genuine. We learned about ” salary negotiating” in one of …

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Jordan

By Jordan Craven

I honestly feel like a changed person after the Urban Retreat. I miss my council, coordinators, and new friends. It was the best trip of the year.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Sonya Renee speak at the final dinner. Through spoken word her message was empowering and was beautiful. I fought tears and chills in every poem or stop. One day I hope to find my inner courage to be able to get my message of gender equality, comprehensive sex education, and personal stories across as elegantly …

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Nadia

By Nadia Anderson

I had many takeaways from this amazing trip to Washington, DC for the Urban Retreat. It is kind of hard to lower it to three, but I will try. One takeaway was the act of storytelling. I never knew that it was better to talk about personal experiences rather than facts. I especially thought this because we were presenting for legislators for lobby day and they seem to always want the statistics when hearing about bills that people want to be passed. It was incredible hearing …

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Darian

By Darian James

As I made my way to the airport to join my coordinators and council members, I began to wonder about what the Urban Retreat would be like. After missing flight number one and being persuaded not to get on flight number two, flight number three was very early (5:26 a.m. to be exact) but quite the charm!

After missing two flights and waking up at 3:00 a.m. to catch the third flight I knew for sure that good luck was in store for me. I arrived …

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Alexus

By: Alexus Tullock

When Ariel and Leighann informed me on the Urban Retreat they attended last year, I thought they were going a little overboard on the fun they said they had. They said I would meet cool people, get to lobby on Capital Hill, and eat lots and lots of snacks. Well, I honestly had the time of my life in DC.

First, meeting my SWARM council in August, I knew they were the bomb but this trip made us feel like a family.

Then, arriving in DC …

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Brittany

By Brittany Prince

My 1st flight. My 1st trip to the Capital. My 1st Advocates for Youth Conference. September 27-October 1 was filled with a lot of changing events.

At the age of 22, I finally experienced my 1st plane flight. Excitement rushed through my body as I arrived to the airport. I felt like a little kid in a candy store. As we prepared for take off I became anxious and could not help but look out the window. Then it finally took place, the wheels started rolling, …

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Jasmine

By Jasmine Stewart

I have thought about the Urban Retreat quite a bit since we have left DC.

The whole experience made me have a whole new perspective on rights, respect, and responsibility; what those three words means to me and everyone around me; what it  really takes to gain those words and obtain them; but most importantly what it means to share these words with each other.

Coming to DC, I wasn’t prepared for the emotions felt and friends gained outside of the workshops, training sessions, and the …